African, Artist Spotlight, Music History, Recollections & Rediscoveries, Rhythm Planet Music Show, RIP »

Music as Time Capsules: Joe Cocker & Papa Yoro Diop

Posted April 20, 2015 by | 0 Comments
Joe Cocker Photo

Awhile back, I wrote on vinyl about LPs as time capsules. As an ardent collector of vinyl, I’ve regularly find all sorts of random paraphernalia inside: newspaper clippings, handwritten personal notes, mementos, etc. Once, I even found a $5.09 receipt that had somehow made its way over from Platterpus Records in Easthampton, Massachusetts, to Los Angeles.
Radio airchecks (demo tapes made of on air radio …

Artist Spotlight, French, Latin, Music History, Recollections & Rediscoveries »

“No, No, No”: Evolution of a Hit Song

Posted April 15, 2015 by | 0 Comments
Dawn Penn

Jamaican-born Dawn Penn’s 1994 reggae classic, “You Don’t Love Me (No, No, No),” is still a hip song being spun by DJs in clubs and on the radio. The Jamaican artist’s big hit was also the name of her debut album, No, No, No. But Penn (b. 1952 Kingston, Jamaica) is no newcomer. She was already well-known in Jamaica by the time mainstream audiences around the world heard …

Art, Literature & Film, Artist Spotlight, Latin, Music History, Recollections & Rediscoveries »

Jobim Sinfónico: High Hopes, Huge Saudade

Posted April 8, 2015 by | 0 Comments
Cathedral of Brasília (exterior)

I’ve been listening to the Jobim Sinfónico (Symphonic Jobim) CD from 2002. It features a suite that Antônio Carlos Jobim (b. 1927–1994) and Vinícius de Moraes composed to celebrate the opening of Brazil’s new federal capital, titled, “Brasília: Sinfonia da Alvorada” (Dawn Symphony).
Brasília was situated in the interior region of this enormous country to fulfill an earlier covenant of the 1891 constitution, which stipulated that the federal capital was to be …

Artist Spotlight, Jazz, Music History, RIP »

A Billie Holiday Celebration

Posted April 6, 2015 by | 0 Comments
Billie Holiday

Tomorrow is the centennial of Billie Holiday. Her haunting, soulful sound was laden with personal stories of heartbreak and misfortune. A victim of circumstance from early on, she took to substance abuse as a means not only of coping but in defiance of social norms. She was surrounded by dope all her life as a jazz musician—it was part of the jazz underground scene. However, addiction was considered …

African, Blues, Classical, Holiday, Jazz, Music History, Rhythm Planet Music Show »

Show #101: Tom’s Easter Music Parade

Posted April 3, 2015 by | 0 Comments
Romanian Easter Eggs

Today is both Good Friday and Passover, so with Easter celebrations just around the corner, I thought we’d feature music for this special holiday this week on Rhythm Planet. Some of these tunes are homegrown; others come to us from different corners of the world.
Some would say there’s nothing like starting off Easter with a good, old “fire and brimstone” sermon by the Reverend Dr. J. Gordon McPherson (b. 1869–1936) …

Music History, Recollections & Rediscoveries »

Early Gay Clubs in LA

Posted April 1, 2015 by | 2 Comments
Catch One

Back in the mid-1980s, I used to go with friends to a happening gay disco spot in LA, a place called Catch One. I would go with my then-girlfriend and some of her friends. We’d often stay until 4 o’clock in the morning, and even at that late hour—or early for some—things were still in full swing.
Security would greet you at the top of …

Artist Spotlight, Jazz, Latin, Music History, Rhythm Planet Music Show »

Show #100: Tracing Miles Davis’s Sketches of Spain

Posted March 27, 2015 by | 3 Comments
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One day many years ago, Miles Davis visited Gil Evans’ basement flat in New York City, and Evans played him Joaquín Rodrigo’s iconic Concierto de Aranjuez. Miles was immediately smitten, and the two set themselves to collaborate on one of the most beloved works of all time, Sketches of Spain (1960). Miles later remarked that it was the most difficult session he’d ever done.
One of the pieces from the album, …

Artist Spotlight, Classical, French, Jazz, Music History, Recollections & Rediscoveries »

The Musician’s Magical Touch

Posted March 25, 2015 by | 0 Comments
Elvin Jones

I once interviewed Elvin Jones (b. 1927–2004), the legendary powerhouse drummer who fueled the great John Coltrane Quartet with his incredibly complex polyrhythms, on Morning Becomes Eclectic back in the mid-1980s. I often wondered how he pulled it altogether, but he did. Elvin was a massive guy with a fierce look, who went only by his first name: Elvin—it was all he needed. At the end of our interview, I tried …

Art, Literature & Film, Artist Spotlight, Blues, Music History, Recollections & Rediscoveries »

Sister Rosetta Tharpe: May You Never Be Forgotten

Posted March 23, 2015 by | 0 Comments
Sister Rosetta - Steamin' & Dreamin'

Sister Rosetta Tharpe making her grand entrance before performing “Didn’t It Rain” in Manchester, England, in 1964.
Spring is officially sprung, and my fellow journalist/music critic, Steve Hochman, reminded me that March 20 would have marked the centennial of the late Sister Rosetta Tharpe (b. 1915–1973). Born in Cotton Plant, Arkansas, her parents were cotton pickers by day. Her mother was a singer, mandolin player, and an evangelist preacher, who …

Art, Literature & Film, Jazz, Music History, Recollections & Rediscoveries »

How to Speak Hip

Posted March 18, 2015 by | 0 Comments
How to Speak Hip - cover

A few weeks ago, I wrote a post about Jazz Humor. A reader named Jim Hickson responded with a favorite CD of his, How to Speak Hip, by Del Close and John Brent. This cleverly done, tongue-in-cheek spoken word album was new to me, so thanks for the recommendation, Jim!
Originally released by Mercury Records back in 1959, it’s since been remastered into digital format by …

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